Homeless say drugs, alcohol pose bigger threat than violence

Homeless say drugs, alcohol pose bigger threat than violence

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Two men are set to face a judge Tuesday for the murder of a local homeless man, William "Billy" Edwards.

People who live in make-shift homes in abandoned building around town said of all the things they fear, some major challenges besides violence come to mind first.

"Life is short, and it's best to try and get it right," said Isaac, a former homeless man we met at the Homeless Resource Network who asked that we only use his first name.

"I lived a complete good life and then I got in my late thirties and my life went down hill," Isaac said.

Isaac tells us his drug and alcohol use took over, forcing him to live off the streets.

The harsh realities of homelessness were highlighted month when a homeless man was murdered. Police say two men attacked Edwards in a part of town known to be a hub for those living on the streets.

"Somebody could come creeping up on you, you never know," said Sally, one local homeless woman who tells us she isn't afraid of a similar attack.

Sally says that's because she lives in her van away from groups, "I pretty much try to keep to myself."

While violence is part of the rugged life style on the streets, Isaac tells us drugs and alcohol are the biggest dangers to his friends still without a roof over their heads; quietly claim the lives of far more people than violent attacks he says.

"I'm drug free of everything, and I still don't have much... but I thank God for what I do have," said Isaac.

Three years sober, Issac says every day presents challenges, as well as motivators to stay as clean and safe as possible.

" After paying all my bills, I don't have enough food for the month, so I still go to shelters and it reminds me where I come from," said Isaac.

Both suspects in the Edwards murder case are schedules appear in Recorder's Court Tuesday morning.

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